Boulder Creek Hardware owner

Ken Olson

After residing in the mountains over the San Lorenzo Valley for a quarter of a century, the new owner of Boulder Creek Hardware & Feed believes he understands the unique needs of area residents.

Ken Olson took over ownership of the iconic building at Forest Street and Central Avenue from previous owner Doug Conrad on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

“I plan to keep it an old-time mom and pop hardware story,” said Olson, who grew up helping his parents maintain their hardware store in Illinois.

The building that houses Boulder Creek Hardware was built in 1892, where the local newspaper the Mountain Echo was published. On the way to becoming a hardware store in 1947, the site operated as a grocery store and shoe store.

Conrad and his wife, Ann Marie, purchased the retail space in 2001. The Conrads listed the Boulder Creek Hardware store for $219,000 in August. The final selling price was not announced.

On his way to owning Boulder Creek Hardware, Olson worked as a design engineer in the biotech field and, more recently, as a retail associate at Ace Hardware in Scotts Valley.

Olson plans on retaining the store’s four-employee staff, and keeping the store optimal for small construction projects.

“Our major demographic is the 35-year-old home owner,” he said. “No major repairs.”

Contact the Press Banner at or (831)438-2500.

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